The Seattle Mariners have had a bad week.
After learning that Robinson Cano would miss significant time after getting hit by a pitch against the Detroit Tigers, news broke on Tuesday that he would be missed much longer, after being suspended 80 games for a violation of Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Agreement.
This is a big loss for a team that Baseball America ranks as the worst farm system in baseball.
The Mariners currently have one prospect ranked in the top 100 of both Baseball America and MLBpipeline.com; Kyle Lewis, who is currently with their Advanced-A team, the Modesto Nuts. He will not be able to contribute this year, and even if they did call him up, it would not be beneficial to either party.
“The top 10 is thin, and the 26th best prospect in Seattle’s system would rank below the 50th best prospect in the Yankees or Padres system,” is what Baseball America wrote about the system in their rankings. This leaves the Mariners only one solution; it is time to make a trade.
Since Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto took over the job on September 28, 2015, the Seattle Mariners have made a league-leading number of trades – 62 – earning the nickname Trader Jerry.
To put that in perspective, A.J. Preller in that time has made 33 trades.
My buddy @dennistlin offered this up to me today: Maybe the Padres OF Travis Jankowski might make sense for the Mariners. He’s a controllable LHH with speed/defense, can platoon in CF with Heredia. Padres with a surplus of OFers. Maybe a middling prospect + international cash?
— Corey Brock (@CoreyBrockMLB) May 16, 2018
The Mariners lost a Gold Glove second baseman in Robinson Cano and a Hall of Fame-caliber bat, and it is impossible to replicate. The move for an outfielder seems to make sense on paper if they are moving Dee Gordon to second base, but the whole purpose of that acquisition was to get the absolute most out of him defensively. This would be counterproductive to the off-season acquisition of him, especially if he is still learning the position. It would simply be a huge step back in his transformation into a center fielder. The Mariners need to be searching for a middle infielder, which the San Diego Padres have an excess of right now.
Here are some trades that could occur between the two teams:
SS Freddy Galvis, RHP Tyson Ross, and C Raffy Lopez for LHP Marco Gonzales and #18 Prospect RHP Seth Elledge
The 25-year-old Gonzales is coming off Tommy John surgery, missing the entire 2016 season. He was acquired for prospect Tyler O’Neill in a deadline deal last year. He has underperformed since he has joined the Mariners, pitching to a 5.35 ERA in 15 starts. This trade will give the Padres another controllable young starter that is pitching under his projections and a prospect that would rank in the top 40 in the Padres system. The Mariners would get a Gold Glove-caliber middle infielder in Galvis, a pitcher in Ross that knows the division, and an upgrade at backup catcher.
— Mariners (@Mariners) April 25, 2018
2B Carlos Asuaje for #8 Prospect RHP Art Warren
Art Warren is a former starting pitcher-turned-reliever by the Mariners. He has displayed better stuff out of the bullpen as he can let his 70-grade fastball go more often, touching 98 at times. This is not a very sexy trade, but it is something that both teams could afford to do. The Padres need to make room at second base while getting an arm that is close to MLB ready and the Mariners would get a left-handed second baseman with MLB experience.
2B Cory Spangenberg for International Bonus Money and a Player to Be Named Later
This trade probably makes the most sense. The Padres get international bonus money and the possibility of a PTBNL, while freeing up a 40-man spot. The Mariners get a left-handed-hitting second baseman with good speed that has shown the ability to contribute at the MLB level.
Whether these trades happen or not, it seems likely that all of the players listed have a limited amount of time left with the Padres. It will be an interesting year to watch unfold.